Hannah: “Now, I’m no longer that innocent and frightened girl. I’m strong and determined.”
This week, the 14 year old daughter of an Agunah living in Brooklyn, NY sent a letter to MK Lavie outlining the abuses and struggles she has experienced as the child of a “chained woman” and expressing her gratitude for MK Lavie’s work in the Knesset on behalf of Agunot around the world.
This week, 14 year old Hannah* from Brooklyn, New York sent a letter to MK Lavie disclosing the challenges she has faced as the daughter of an Agunah. Agunot (also known as “chained women”) are women whose husbands refuse to release them from their marriage under Jewish law, by refusing to give a “get”. During her time in the Knesset, MK Lavie has worked extensively to expand the rights of Agunot and liberate these women from their unwanted circumstances.
In her letter, Hannah details the physical and emotional abuse she and her family endured at the hands of her father throughout her early childhood. After her parents separated at the age of 5, Hannah often lived in fear of her father. Today, her only contact with her father is through a lawyer.
However, Hannah has emerged from the trauma of her childhood ‘strong’ and ‘determined’. At the end of her letter she thanks MK Lavie for her efforts on behalf of women’s rights and entreats MK Lavie to continue her fight for the rights of Agunot. She writes, “But what keeps me strong is the support from others. It’s especially inspiring to know that in Israel, the Knesset is busy with…helping all the Agunot around the world.” Hannah concluded, “Experience has taught me that although life is full of challenges, the only way to keep strong is by always moving forward and looking for the positive in every situation.”
MK Lavie wrote a letter in reply, thanking Hannah for telling her story. MK Lavie commended her bravery through difficult times and offered her a few words of comfort. She wrote, “It seems in your young life you have found yourself in difficult circumstances through no fault of your own. However, I wish you much chizuk (strength) during these times and I promise to continue to fight for the rights of all women, including yours and your mother’s.”
MK Lavie was humbled by Hannah’s story and expressed her gratitude for the ability to create change in the world and impact the lives Jewish women abroad.
*Hannah is a fake name used to protect the identity of the original subject.